Model: Aspire V3
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2450M Processor
LCD: 17.3" CineCrystal LED LCD (1600x900)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000
Memory: 4GB DDR3
Storage: 500 HDD
Optical Drive: DVD-Writer (DVD-RAM/±R/±RW)
Battery: 4400mAh, 6-cell Li-Ion
Product Link: Acer Aspire Range

Ease of Learning: 4 / 5

Ease of Use: 3.5 / 5

Enjoyment: 3 / 5

Design: 2.5 / 5

Value for Money: 3 / 5

As with all other laptop/notebook manufacturers, Acer has a long line-up to suit any need, and pocket. Acer has released a number of new laptops this year, such as the previously reviewed and popular Aspire M3 Ultrabook. Although the Aspire V3 doesn’t quite have the same hype surrounding it, it is branded as an affordable, yet powerful laptop. The Aspire V3 range comes in sizes from 14” to 17.3”, Core i3 to Core i7 Intel processors, HDD or SDD storage options, and the choice between the standard Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics or the more powerful nVidia Kepler graphics.

Acer Aspire V3 - Top

The review unit we received packed a Core i5-2450M Intel Dual Core processor, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, 500GB SATA HDD, Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics and 17.3” LED display at a 1600×900 resolution. This, then, would be classified a mid-level laptop of the V3 range.

With a screen size of 17.3” you would expect the laptop to have some additional weight, but at 2.6KG it’s quite heavy. Again, due to its screen size, the battery life isn’t as good as it should be. The maximum battery run-time is listed as 4 hours and 30 minutes, which I could never record, even when using it for simple tasks, such as using MS Word. At any point in time, I barely managed to reach the 3 hour mark once fully charged. As with most other laptops, sound quality is almost always a negative aspect, so it’s trivial paying too much attention to it.

The biggest issue when using a new/different laptop, for me at least, is the fact that one has to get used to the keyboard, which often leaves a bitter taste in terms of user experience. For something as simple as the keyboard, it’s difficult to understand why so many manufacturers have struggled in getting it right. The Acer Aspire V3, however, does not suffer the same fate. In fact, I would as far as to say the island-style keyboard, with chiclet-style keys, is almost perfect, falling short only because of a lack of back-lit keys, which should be a standard on any laptop today. The trackpad, though, doesn’t enjoy the same success. Besides being in the way most of time, gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom, sometimes have to be repeated before it’s registered. Two-finger swipe is some saving grace to the below par trackpad.

The V3 has a glossy black lid that looks good, until you mess up the clean look with your fingerprints. Because this laptop wasn’t designed to be as stream-lined as an Ultrabook, you would then expect it to replace its skinny look for an abundance of ports. The Aspire V3 has a host of ports that include Ethernet, VGA and HDMI connections (all along the left side), 3 USB ports (x2 USB 2.0, x1 USB 3.0), separate headphone and mic 3.5mm jacks, SD card slot, LED indicators, DVD-drive, and the standard Kensington Lock slot.

The graphics performance of the Intel HD 3000 is respectable, without being great. You will be able to play most of the recently released games, but on lower graphics settings. Despite the average gaming graphics performance, it plays full 1080p HD movies without too much difficulty, even when connecting to an external source via the HD port. Overall, the colours are bright and accurate. The viewing angles, too, aren’t as restricted, which allows viewing by more than 1 person at a time.

Acer Aspire V3 - Back

Depending on the variant of Acer Aspire V3 you choose, the prices range from R7,000 to about R13,000. The Aspire V3 series was launched in the States as an affordable, back-to-school laptop. Although there aren’t many students in South Africa that would consider this an affordable must-have, it should provide adequate specs for many businessmen. Despite the negative aspects of the Aspire V3, it’s worth noting that these are quite common. With the number of positives in the V3, there isn’t a real deterrent if you choose to purchase one yourself.

You can find the full specifications here.

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